Saturday, October 13, 2012

Trig Rant #4 A Canterlot's Writing

You're the Song of my Life
and my Love by johnjoseco (modified)

The season two finale was one of the most anticipated events of my entire life. Few releases have topped my anticipation levels for this pair of episodes back in April of 2012.

The question is: Did it deliver?

This isn't quite a review of A Canterlot Wedding parts one and two, but what I think went wrong with the two episodes. I'll still point out some of the positives as I go, but as a whole the rant will be on what didn't work.

Click here for a refresher on the season two finale. Enjoy yourself? I did. Now click "read more" for my labyrinth of logic. I know I've asked you to click so many things, but bear with me, this'll be the last one.

Let me first say that I had so much fun watching these episodes. I watched it all the way through about three times the day they aired and six times since then. I described it as a piece of art on the EQD comment section when the site reported that the finale was the most popular HUB showing of all time, and although I think that description is accurate for the show as a whole, it was especially meaningful for these episodes. I still think that today.

Now, the core problem with the finale was the pacing. I think a majority of the problems could've been solved if it were fleshed out into three 22 minute episodes instead of just two. You'll find that will be the solution to almost all of my criticisms. 

The princess of foal-sitting.
Cadence by Saphamia
First off, I'd like to address the introduction of the two ponies that were essential to this story. I was very weary about Shining Armor considering he popped out of nowhere. He got a song that helped re-enforce his apparent history and relationship with Twilight with a rather melancholic twist to it. I thought that aspect was going to be addressed at the conclusion of the episodes, but it never came, and I'll talk about that later. Cadence's intro also gave history, but it was mainly there to shock you with present day Cadence and start hinting at her fake identity. All in all, I was coming in expecting this to be a train wreck because let's face it, they were really only introduced for the toy line. But ultimately, I think this was one of the better aspects of the episodes.

Another thing I thought the episodes did right was bringing Twilight down as far as they could bring her. And I'm not talking about ring of fire Chrysalis black magic, but feeling guilty for her accusations and feeling alone. I often hear that Twilight's friends show they didn't learn anything from Lesson Zero as they take no time to listen to Twilight's accusations on Princess Cadence, and I have to say I disagree with this. Lesson Zero taught the mane 6 not to ignore your friends when they have problems, but this episode had them convinced there was no problem at all, which is completely believable. They never grew up with Cadence through childhood like Twilight so I can see why they wouldn't be as disturbed by her general unfriendlinesss like Twilight was. 

She's pretty awesome...
so why was her defeat so unsatisfying?
Long Live the Queen by Equestria-Prevails
Now we get into the muddier territory. Chrysalis was only present in the episode for about 15 minutes, and that shows. Instead of there being an actual substantial struggle between good and evil, like in Return of Harmony, the situation was bombarded with leaps of logic and excuses. Something in particular that baffles me is why Chrysalis would make the effort to seal Cadence away from Shining Armor, and then when she escapes she doesn't seem to care. It seems like she wasn't defeated by love, but by the cockiness from herself. And this was what happened with Discord as well! I mean kudos to them for not doing elements of harmony for a third time, which legitimately surprised me, but there has to be a more sincere way to defeat a villain.

I'm also a little let down by how Chrysalis is defeated in the first place. Friendship is magic, right? So why did it seem like the mane 6 running around Canterlot was all for naught when all it took was some unicorn horn sizzle? As I was watching, I realized the writing was trying to focus as much on the mane 6 as possible, but still having to abide by the general focus of Shining Armor and Cadence. The struggle between the two focuses I felt actually made the episodes more disjointed than they needed to be. 

And finally, the ending, and namely the extremely brief friendship letter. It would've been neat if the final moments of the episode alluded back to the idea of moving on from loved ones to start new sections of your life, but instead it went to "trust your instincts". My problem with that is Twilight DID trust her instincts but that wasn't the problem! The problem was Shining Armor was moving on too quickly and forgetting his past and little sister. That could've all tied back to the hardships of continuing on through life and make for a touching moment, but it never quite came together. 

This time around, my rant was more of a, well, rant. My criticisms are nit picky, and I still really enjoyed these episodes. Overall though, there were some serious missed opportunities in the season two finale. Maybe with season three approaching we can have a two parter that truly knocks my panties off. 

Chrysalis the Changeling Queen by Raikoh-illust

Written By: Trigger
Edited by: Rarity

Next week I'll deviate even more from my usually analytical articles, but I'll eventually get back to those. Have a daring day everyone!